Yesterday, as I walked to the shed to salt the water, I caught a glimpse of the butterfly he put in a garden he created for me. A butterfly, the symbol of a free life after struggle, is the only thing still standing in that garden. The plants are dead, too much harsh sun, no water or care. The chairs are dumped over so there’s nowhere to be seated and comfortable anymore.
The hummingbirds get sugar elsewhere; they’ve long ago drained all the red from the heart of their feeder.
The cord that the lights plugged into has gone missing, so it’s dark now at night, the sparkly replaced by black as coal isolation.
But the butterfly on the stand remains.
A butterfly knows how to survive a hard struggle. It uses those beautiful wings to beat its way from a prison of its own making. I imagine it scarcely knows what it’s fighting while the battle is raging. It trusts, like I did and still do, that there’s hope on the other side of that time. i know from my own wars that it must want to give up more times that it can likely admit.
When it emerges, I wonder if it, like me, is confused by how it went into its shell in one form, in one place, to come out again. It looks down to see new wings, different legs, and a full season’s gone by. So much shifted, all this power now, no idea what to do next. It doesn’t even know what it owns, where to go. I imagine all it can do is move around and breathe, take each experience in, feel the moment, blinking, shifting.
I wonder if it feels slightly hopeless for a second like I do, overwhelmed by the task of starting over.
The butterfly he planted in the prison of our making is on its stand, frozen stalk still, perhaps waiting, like me, to gather the strength to fly.
I will help it, I will, in the same way I will find my own way to fly, as soon as I’m done salting my water.
~ cj 2011.07.02